Word-Level Equivalence in English-Amharic Translation

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Yetwale Mequanint Belie
Mulugeta Tarekegne Tsegaye


This study investigates culture and linguistic-related challenges that translators faced and strategies used by translators to reduce these challenges in translating words equivalently from English, the Source Language into Amharic, the Target Language. The study used the Bible “New World Translation of the Holy Scripture” and its Amharic translated version “məs’ɨhaf k’iddus addis aləm tɨrgum”. Using these documents, words were qualitatively described in light of Mona Baker’s (2011) model. The analysis contains five lines; the Source Text, the Target Text both orthographically and phonemically, the glossing and the literal translation of the TT into the ST. The study identified challenges  including lexical relation, semantic complexity and culture. These challenges are caused by usage differences in religious and social practices between SL and TL users, semantic structure differences between words of the SL and the TL, and lexicalization and the number of vocabulary differences between the SL and the TL. The strategies used to minimize these challenges include cultural substi- tution, functionally equivalent words, translation by a more general word (superordinate), a more specific word (hyponym) when the TL lacks  a general word, a general word plus explanation, and paraphrase. Based  on the findings,  the study recommended expansion of translation courses at high school level and specialized  translating and interpreting pro-

grams that contain linguistic elements and socio-cultural practices.

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